Floats Like a Butterfly, Sweet Like a Bienenstich – Bee Sting Cake

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In small saucepan, combine 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, 3 1/2 Tbs honey, and 1 cup milk. Heat over low until the butter melts and mix is blended. Set aside to cool about 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, stir together 4 cups all purpose flour, 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, and 1 tsp. cinnamon. When milk mixture has cooled, whisk in the zest of 1 lemon, 1 egg, and 1 Tbs. dry active yeast (4 packets). Let sit about 5 minutes until frothy.

Mix milk mixture in with dry ingredients. Stir until combined. Remove to a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, about 6 minutes by hand or 2 by machine. Place dough into an oiled bowl and cover with saran wrap. Let sit 1 hour in warm area or on top of a heating pad set to warm.

About 50 minutes into your rise, combine 1/4 cup sugar, 6 Tbs. honey, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 2 cups slivered almonds, and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Heat over high heat and bring to a gentle boil. Allow to boil until it begins to turn lightly golden (7-10 minutes). Remove from heat and add 1 Tbs. vanilla.

In 9″ springform pan, press the dough across the bottom. Do your best to press it along the walls of the pan. Pour the almond syrup over the top and spread so it’s flat.

Cook 25 minutes in an oven at 350. Pro tip: on the rack beneath your cake pan, put a cookie sheet covered in foil. That way if anything leaks out of the pan, you’re not scrubbing your oven forever.

Other recipes will tell you to cut your cake in half horizontally and then fill with a vanilla custard. Save yourself this step by serving atop the vanilla pudding you already know how to make!

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Stuffed Bagel Bites

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In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 cup Greek yogurt. Stir together until it forms a dough ball. If it’s a little too tacky, add in additional flour teaspoon by teaspoon.

Press golf-ball sizes of dough into flat disks and place the stuffing of your choice in the middle. I went with salami, cream cheese and hot peppers. Perhaps a bit of mozzarella and a pepperoni. Perhaps just cream cheese. You do you. Press the dough up and around your stuffing, forming a rough ball shape.

In a small bowl, whisk together one egg and one Tbs. of water. Brush over the tops of your dough balls. Sprinkle Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning over the top. If you’re going with sweet flavoring, perhaps just cinnamon and sugar over the top.

Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 for 23 minutes and 2 minutes with the oven set to broil. Or cook in an air fryer for 10 minutes at 400.

No, they’re not technically bagels, but this dough is far easier.

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(I Promise You Can’t Tell It’s Eggplant) Lasagna

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Sometimes I trick people into eating eggplant. This is how I do it.

First, you need to sharpen your knife. No, really. Eggplant skin is shockingly tough. Then wash your knife, to be safe.

With your clean and sharp knife, cut two small eggplants into slices no thicker than 1/4″. Brush both sides of each slice with extra virgin olive oil and place in one layer on parchment lined baking sheets (or silicone sheets if you’ve got them). Sprinkle with salt. Cook at 350 for 10-15 minutes, until soft.

In a high walled skillet, brown 1 lb. ground turkey or beef and one minced onion. Add one can drained diced tomatoes. Stir in 1/2 of 24 ounces marinara sauce of your choosing. Season with 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes.

Combine 15 ounces of ricotta with 1 bunch of finely chopped parsley and 2 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella.

Pour a thin layer of your reserved marinara sauce into a 9×9 pan. Layer: eggplant, meat sauce, all of the ricotta mixture, marinara sauce, eggplant, meat sauce. Top with a handful of shredded mozarella and a light dusting of bread crumbs if you’re adventurous.

Bake at 350 for approximately 1 hour. Turn on the broiler just before you take it out of the oven so the cheese gets nice and golden. Let sit 15 minutes before serving so you don’t scald yourself with a soupy mess.

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Nuggy’s Peanut Butter Blueberry Banana Bites

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Nugget is our puppy dog. He thoroughly approves this recipe. The first time he got one, he tried to bury it so I wouldn’t steal it from him. The second time, he sat holding the bite in his mouth, drooling.

There’s nothing in this you can’t eat. But it’s geared toward our canine friends.

In a food processor, combine 1 egg, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup unsalted peanut butter, 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1/2 ripe banana. Use a food processor instead of a blender because you’ll need the extra horse power to get through all that peanut butter, especially once it combines with the flour.

You can either ball the dough up into a cookie shape and bake on a flat baking sheet or in mini muffin tins. Press blueberries (fresh or frozen) into each bite. If you’re going to try roll out cookies, a tablespoon of baking powder is entirely too much. Try using a teaspoon and thoroughly chilling the dough before rolling.

Bake 25-30 minutes at 375. Let cool before sharing.

Creamy Chicken, Gnocchi and Spinach Soup

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Joe, you finally get a copy. Earlier that it comes in the mail, too! You won’t see it until October, but I’ve done what I could.

Brown 1 pound Italian sausage in a Dutch oven, do not drain. If you are skipping the sausage, instead drizzle two glugs of your favorite olive oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 diced onion, 2 finely chopped stalks of celery, and 2 large shredded carrots.Stir to coat. Cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add 6 cups chicken stock, 2 cups diced chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, 3/4 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds. If you want to add a bit of heat, add 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes here. Bring to a boil. Add 2 packages of gnocchi, boil 4-6 minutes until gnocchi rises to the top and reduce to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes. Add 1 cup chopped fresh spinach and cook an additional 2 minutes to wilt the spinach.

Slowly stir in 2 cups of half and half (one cup of half and half if you’re trying to cut extraneous calories). Keep the mixture from boiling, as the cream will separate if it gets too hot.

Serve immediately.

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Devilishly Delicious Eggs

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For every 6 halves, you’ll need 4 hard boiled eggs. I’ve found that steaming the eggs makes them a lot easier to peel than actually boiling them and they break a whole lot less often.

Peel the eggs and slice in half. Remove the yolks into a food processor or shallow bowl. Add your two weakest egg white halves, 2 tablespoons yellow mustard, 1 1/2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon powdered turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, 2 teaspoon ranch powder and 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper.

If using a food processor, pulse to chop the eggs and combine all ingredients. Otherwise, use a fork to work all the ingredients together. Pipe into the egg white halves or spoon the filling on top of them. Top with a dash of smoked paprika.

Makes 6 halves.

 

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Bruleed Grapefruit

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Cut the ends off a fresh grapefruit and then cut in half. You’ve cut the ends off so that when you wield a torch at it, it doesn’t wobble and you don’t light your house on fire. Hopefully. Place grapefruits fruit side down on paper towels for ten minutes.

For some extra flavor, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon or cardamom over the grapefruit before you add sugar. In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Sprinkle half of mixture on each grapefruit half. You want a relatively thick coating. Even it out with the back of a spoon or a fork.

Light your brulee torch. Keeping the torch 1-2 inches from the fruit, move it in small circles to keep dispersing the heat. Melt the sugar so it caramelizes.

Give it a minute to cool off, then serve!

You can also make this in your oven: turn your broiler on and give it a few minutes to get hot. Put your sugared grapefruit under the broiler and keep an eye on it. It should take about 8 minutes.

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